What is Phonics?
"Phonics is simply the system of relationships between letters and sounds in a language. When your kindergartner learns that the letter B has the sound of /b/ and your second-grader learns that “tion” sounds like /shun/ they are learning phonics." (PBS Parents)
After alphabet recognition, phonics is the first step towards learning to read. When I started homeshooling back in 1998, I had no clue how to teach my kids how to read. These were the days when the internet was still shiny and new so I turned to the library for help. After weeks and weeks of searching through books with different methods to teach reading (some a little whacky) I discovered several books on the subject of phonics. Boy did I hit the jackpot! Because after reading these books, I didn't feel so lost or hopeless anymore. I had some direction. And we were off on our road to reading!
I wish I could say from then on it was all smooth sailing. Some of my kids picked up phonics on the very first day. For others, it took a few months. For a few it took YEARS. But I highly believe that the best overall core method for teaching a child to read phonics.
Do I Need a Phonics Curriculum to Teach Phonics at Home?Until my kids started virtual and charter homeschooling programs, I had always taught phonics on my own with materials from the internet or that I made myself. You don't NEED to purchase a fancy, expensive curriculum. However, you do need to be organized, prepared and CONSISTENT. I was always making up materials as we went along (and admittedly I still do) and that is difficult, so you should make sure that you are well prepared. If you aren't the type to make up your own material or don't want to spend countless hours searching for stuff, then buying a prepared curriculum is probably better, but again, you don't have to. My phonics resources and information is really geared towards the "do it yourself" phonics approach as that is what I have the most experience with, but you can use the resources as supplements to a prepackaged curriculum as well.
- Teaching Phonics on Your Own - Here I lay out a simple overall plan for teaching phonics at home without a curriculum.
A phonogram is a letter or letters that represent a sound. For example, "ee," "ay," and "a" are phonograms.
Visit TJ Homeschooling's By the Phonogram Resources to help you teach phonograms. It lists phonograms by category (short vowels, long vowels, digraphs, etc) and points you to resources to use for each phonogram.